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Driver stops DUI suspect _ and gets a ticket himself

Daniel Drake was trying to help when he boxed in a suspected drunken driver on Interstate 275 just north of downtown Tampa this week, then waited with her until authorities arrived.

He could hardly believe it when a Florida Highway Patrol trooper cited him for stopping his tow truck on a public highway and blocking traffic _ a $120 fine worth four points on a license.

"I was just trying to get her off the damned road," said Drake, who works at National Auto towing in Tampa. "If she'd have gotten around that bend at I-4, I know she'd have hit the wall or crashed into someone else."

Drake went to the FHP's office in Tampa on Friday and lodged a complaint. FHP spokesman Trooper Larry Coggins said he cannot comment on the case because an inquiry is under way.

Drake said he noticed the driver, later identified as 20-year-old Jamie Jacko of Land O' Lakes, driving on I-275 Wednesday morning in a silver Honda Civic.

"She hit the concrete barrier, bounced over to the other side," said Drake, 30. "Everybody on the Interstate was trying to get out of her way."

Drake, in his tow truck, said he worked with the driver of another vehicle to box Jacko in. They forced her to stop in the right lane reserved for slow-moving traffic.

"I jumped out and said "Ma'am, stop. You're not going nowhere,' " Drake said. "She was so out of it. She even let me use her phone to call the cops."

A community service officer arrived within a few minutes, followed 10 to 15 minutes later by a trooper, Drake said.

By the time the trooper arrived, Drake and the other driver had moved Jacko's Honda and their own trucks from the I-275 lane onto the shoulder, Drake said.

"But the trooper came over and wanted to know why my truck was in the road," he said. "He didn't even eyeball my (truck) in the lane, but that was his main concern, why I was in the road."

Drake says the other driver who forced Jacko to pull over was not cited. Coggins could not confirm that Friday.

Jacko was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence and was booked into the county jail, records show. She posted $500 bail and was released.

Last year, Jacko was convicted of driving 77 mph in a 55 mph zone, according to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. In 2000, she was convicted in Pasco County of failing to obey a traffic signal.

State driving records show Drake also has a history of citations and is considered an habitual traffic offender.

His license was reinstated last year after a five-year suspension, following three instances between 1998 and 1999 in which he was cited in Pinellas County for driving with a suspended license.

Information from WTSP-Ch.10 was used in this report. Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at (813) 226-3373 or svansicklersptimes.com.

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